And the winner is...

    Not me.

    Am I disappointed? Yes, of course. But I'm not feeling the sense of defeat that I thought I might feel. Why?

    Well, JD Robb, aka Nora Roberts, was a finalist, and she didn't win. Patricia Potter, whose work I admire so much, was a finalist and didn't win. Lisa Kleypas was a double finalist and didn't win tonight.

    That's a bunch of wonderful, talented writers, each of them a best-seller. And I'm in their company as finalists who did not win tonight. Not bad.

    But I'm going to post my speech here on this blog because the words in it are true, even if I didn't get to speak them from the stage during the RITA ceremony. So here's what I would have said, and it's what's true in my heart every day:

    Thanks to RWA's founders and its members for creating a home for women who hear voices in their heads. Thanks to the judges for finding merit in my novel. Thanks to Kally Jo Surbeck and Colorado Romance Writers for their support and friendship.

    Thanks to:

    Natasha Kern, my agent, who has been beside me every step of the way.

    Alicia Condon, my editor, for letting me write the stories I want to write and to everyone at Dorchester for getting behind this book.

    My sister Michelle White, who read my first romance manuscript and said, "It's just like a real romance novel."

    My friend and cousin Sara Megibow for her support.

    The women of RBL Romantica for their tireless support, their friendship and their love of fun.

    And to the women of Rebel Writer's Refuge who keep me sane: Bonnie Vanak, Norah Wilson, Jan Zimlich, Alice Duncan, Alice Brilmeyer, and Mimi Riser.

    Special thanks to my mother, Mary White, who is here with me tonight. And to my boys, Alec, and Benjamin, who've emailed and text messaged me every day all week to tell me that they love me and believe in me. I couldn't do this without their love and their support.

    Thank you!


    OK, that's what I would have said, and it's true whether it's spoken into a microphone in front of 3,000 people or posted on this blog where very few eyes will see it. Those of you who've reached out to me over the years have each in your own way made a difference.

    So now it's time to pack up the glitter gowns and face the fact that RWA 2007 is over. It's so hard to say goodbye to everyone. I miss them already. There's one week out of the year when we all come together, when I get to put the less fun parts of my life aside and focus on what I really, truly love. I'm more bummed about the conference coming to an end than I am not winning the RITA.

    It's a major down to return to the real world.

    My love to everyone! And, Bonnie, thank you so much for making this such a special conference. Everyone ought to have a friend like you! Fortunately, I do. ;-)

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